Talk From The Rock Room: Taste – ‘Live Taste’ 1971 – 'It’ll Be the Same Old Story'

Monday, February 1, 2021

Taste – ‘Live Taste’ 1971 – 'It’ll Be the Same Old Story'

Jamming aggressively in the ‘rock room’ today in the third and final album by Irish rockers ‘Taste’. Released in February of 1971 following the band’s demise, Live Taste was recorded during the group’s final tour at the Montreux Casino, in Montreaux, Switzerland. This was also the band’s only official live documentation at the time. Famed Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher fronted the power trio with the muscular rhythm section of Charlie McCracken on bass and John Wilson on drums. Recorded professionally, the existing LP does exhibit some limitations of the time. The performance is similar to the now officially released Live at the Isle of Wight CD/Blu Ray combo, which means it is just as thunderous and awe inspiring. Gallagher would soon move on from the group that helped propel his career after these aforementioned recordings. Unfortunately business often interfered with music making during this era and ‘Taste’ fell into that trap and it pried the group apart. Luckily for us they left behind a brief but tasty discography, which the ‘rock room’ will delve into today.

The performance begins with ‘Sugar Mama’, a famed Gallagher reimagining of a classic blues covered by everyone from Tampa Red to Led Zeppelin. Here it begins with Gallagher shredding his vocal chords with his solitary, yet kinetic guitar accompaniment. The assembled crowd keep time with their hands. At a bit after a minute the band drops in like a piano of a rooftop crashing into the verse. Almost immediately Gallagher peels away a euphoric series of licks running parallel with his hollers. McCracken thumps out a resounding sludgy bass, just as rock and roll should be. Dynamically, the band lets some air out for the second verse. After Gallagher dispenses with his husky shout, he moves into a probing clean toned exploration of the blues changes. At four and a half minutes Rory starts to peel paint with an explosive trill detonation and some off mic screams. The band soon navigates its way into an elastic false feedback conclusion that Gallagher shreds into a proper and smoking conclusion.

Gallagher dons his brass slide for a chance reading of ‘Gamblin’ Blues’, a blues cover written by Melvin Jackson. A straight dirty boot stomp, Rory performs like a back porch bar patron, laying down streaky blues slide, as a speeding set of headlights passes through liquid night. Mid song Gallagher hits on a haunted ringing string, stomps his foot in time and chimes through a series of unique interpretations of a typical blues change. Rory closes the number with a shimmery slide vocal duet, no band here, just rock wood shedder Gallagher and his ax.

Big Bill Broonzy’s ‘I Feel So Good’ follows and is a straight up rock and roll workout, complete with swinging bass and drum spotlight segments. The band cooks through a weighty shuffle before dropping into a thumping Charlie McCracken bass solo. Hot on it’s heels a wash of cymbals introduce a well played John Wilson drum solo. What is listed as ‘Feel So Good Pt 2’ (on the original LP this is the start of Side 2) exits the drums as Gallagher and McCracken chase each other’s tails in a blusey vamp. The band then brings it down, simmering to almost silence. Gallagher uses a sweet tone while vocally testifying before a substantial return to the song proper. McCracken climbs the rungs of his bass in unison with Gallagher shredding his guitar. Explosive.

In the ‘rock room’s opinion the next cut is a highlight on the record and may be a highlight of the band’s career! Responding to crowd requests, ‘Taste’ casts their bait into the deep end for ‘Catfish’ which is introduced as the final song of the set. I’m saying this right now, definitively, you aint’ never heard heavy electric blues until you have heard this! Change my mind! The band drops anchor into the murky depths of the song with a destructive splash. Dredging the submerged earth the band reveals a chilling pulse to which Gallagher gags out the hook and line. Singing a duet with his strings the Gallagher and the band move dynamically through bluesy currents. There is a sense of anticipation as the band sinks into the undertow allowing Gallagher to quote from the blues ‘Two Trains Running’. The band resurfaces, sailing into a plucky improve segment. McCracken and Gallagher enter into a bird’s nest of runs, Wilson steading the ship with firm pounding. Gallagher finds a stringy sun touched feedback note that stretches from shore to shore with the band watching it’s ripples. Swirling, another round of kinetic jamming occurs that ends with a hard stop, a quick band introduction, and then a boulder off of the bridge back into the song proper. Gallagher sings the ‘Catfish’ verse melody on guitar and concludes a heady jam on a classic blues. Wow.

Side two of the LP concludes with the Gallagher penned, ‘Same Old Story’ from 1969’s self-titled album. The cut is an undulating, syncopated slab of aggressive rock. Simple and ass shaking, Gallagher takes what could be his best solo of the night! This piece is like Chuck Berry on space amphetamines! Charlie and John seal up the vault with a relentless groove and just like that the song, the LP, and the band are concluded.

‘Taste’s’ 1971 album Live Taste in the ‘rock room’s’ opinion one of the finest examples of the ‘British Blues Boom’…….to come out of Ireland of all time. While Rory Gallagher would go on to a quite wonderful career, for a short era, ‘Taste’ may have been the best band in the world. (See Isle of Wight 1970) Perhaps, they broke up right in time, as the ‘power trio’ would soon be considered passé’, but when listening to an album like Live Taste, it always leaves me wanting for more music. Underrated but overwhelming with talent, Ireland’s ‘Taste’ has left a smoking legacy behind even if only smoldering for 3 years.

No comments:

Post a Comment